A notable figure of New German Cinema, film director Werner Herzog has made a name for himself with experimental ideas and exploration of a controversy sparking themes. Like his movie protagonists who possess distinctive talent, Herzog is a screenwriter, actor, author, and an opera director.
He has directed dozens of documentary and movie and has played as an actor in multiple films, with most recent being the Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian.
Here we will learn seven interesting facts of Werner Herzog.
When Herzog was 12 years old, his family moved to the Munich, capital city of Bavaria. At this time around, his family shared the accommodation with several people to cut down on costs.
Interestingly, among many people that lived in the apartment with Herzog and his family, German actor Klaus Kinski was one of them. The acquaintance of Kinski and Herzog is quite famous, as Herzog is often admired for being the only director to be able to work with Kinski.
The 77-years old director would have been on the LANSA Flight 508 that crashed in a thunderstorm killing 91 people, had there not been a last-minute change in plan for him.
The plane crash and the last-minute change that saved his life inspired him to direct the movie Wings of Hope based on the story of the tribulation faced by Juliane Koepcke, the sole survivor of the plane crash while being stranded in the Amazon rainforest for eleven days.
Werner's father, Dietrich Herzog, did not stay with his family since Werner's teenage years. Still, Werner decided to adopt his father's surname because he thought of it as a fancy-sounding surname that would be apt for a career in the entertainment industry.
As a matter of fact, Werner surname Herzog is a hereditary title held by the ruler of the territorial duchy in Germany. When translated to English, it means duke.
The movie directed by Herzog has garnered critical acclaim and notability in the art films genre. From receiving a lifetime achievement award to becoming the only filmmaker to have his two movies enter the Venice Film Festival competition in the same year, Herzog is surely the kahuna of German cinema.
Moreover, he earned the trademark of frequently working with Klaus Kinski, which became audience favorite. Both have worked in movies as Aguirre, the Wrath of God, Nosferatu the Vampyre, Woyzeck, Fitzcarraldo and Cobra Verde. Kinski had asked Herzog to direct the film Paganini, but the 77-years old director declined the offer. The movie turned out to be the last movie of Kinski.
Werner directed the documentary film Grizzly Man on life, work, and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. The documentary was made after the horrific death of Treadwell and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, who lost their lives to the grizzly bear.
American film critic and journalist David Denby stated,
Narrating in his extraordinary German-accented English, Herzog is fair-minded and properly respectful of Treadwell's manic self-invention. He even praises Treadwell as a good filmmaker-as Treadwell stands talking in the foreground of the frame, the bears play behind him or scoop up salmon in sparkling water; in other shots, a couple of foxes leap across the grass in the middle of a Treadwell monologue. The footage is full of stunning incidental beauties.
Besides receiving a favorable response from the critics, the documentary also became commercially successful, grabbing 26th position in the box office at the opening weekend.
My Best Fiend director married his first wife, Martje Grohmann, at the age of 25 in 1967. Martje gave birth to a son, Rudolph Amos Achmed, in 1973. After staying together for 18 years, the couple divorced in 1985.
Herzog also has a daughter, Hanna Mattes, with his companion Eva Mattes, actress and photographer. They were romantically linked to each other in 1980.
Werner married his second wife, Christine Maria Ebenberger, on August 19, 1987. They have a son, Simon Herzog, who was born in 1989. The couple separated in 1997.
He is currently married to visual artist and photographer Lena Herzog, since 1999.
From shooting his first movie by a stolen camera to tallying the overall cost of production at the beginning of the shoot, Werner has always been economical and shrewd when it comes to budget.
While there is no denying that he is a fan of George Lucas Star Wars franchise, Werner had a different reason for accepting the role of The Client in the television series The Mandalorian. He actually thought of it as a way to finance his film Family Romance, LLC.
Nevertheless, during the screening of The Mandalorian, he talked about sharing a fantastic moment in the set and being impressed by the screenplay and cinematography of the series.
Along with Werner, actors like Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Omid Abtahi, Nick Nolte, Taika Waititi, Gina Carano, Amy Sedaris, Jake Cannavale, Ming-Na Wen, Mark Boone Junior, Bill Burr, Natalia Tena, and Clancy Brown have significant roles in The Mandalorian.